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Unread 03-25-2010, 07:21 PM   #1
khelman@charter.net
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Labor and material on Kerdi less than full float shower?

I am looking for a way to compete with guys who are bidding showers in my area and all they use is Hardi-backer or Durarock. I have up until now insisted on full float showers. With the economy the way it is now I need to find a way to compete with these type of contractors. What is the typical cost of materials and hours of labor to do a 3x5 shower with three walls and no frills with a product like Kerdi? Thanks for any help you can give.
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Unread 03-25-2010, 07:39 PM   #2
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Kerdi is gonna cost you more in materials than the regular floated shower so that's not gonna help your situation. Kerdied showers are like $2 a ft. in materials out here plus the drain which is around a $100.

Should be able from the studs out be able to get one that size ready for tile in two days. Hope that helps .
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Unread 03-25-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
khelman@charter.net
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Wow that's no cheaper than a full float shower. Who installs the drain? The plumber or me? There has to be an advantage over a mud job or why would anyone do it!?
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Unread 03-25-2010, 07:58 PM   #4
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Hi Kirk, for a while years ago I offered both mud showers and Kerdi showers at exactly the same price.

The only way you can really go low end is to use cement board.
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Unread 03-25-2010, 08:03 PM   #5
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Obviously there has to be a reason you chose to do one over the other. May I ask what it is?
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Unread 03-25-2010, 08:06 PM   #6
Deckert
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The most obvious advantage to Kerdi is having a surface applied waterproofing versus a waterproofing buried under mortar. Its a better way to manage water in a shower than having a mortar bed and mortar walls that can hold moisture and help stuff grow.

I also happen to think there is an advantage as far as labor/time goes. If your 3x5 stall is at bare studs and the valve is in there is no reason you aren't tiling the walls the first day you are on the job.

In a perfect world where $$ was no object we could Kerdi over mud and have the best of both worlds. But I don't think this is what you are looking for as far as ways to compete with the backer board crowd.
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Unread 03-25-2010, 08:43 PM   #7
Brian in San Diego
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Kirk,

Somewhere in this forum one of the pros told how he "sold" customers on kerdi. I believe he would bring in a piece of kerdi and a piece of 6 mil plastic. He would say what most people do is put this plastic behind a backerboard and set tile on the backerboard. He then would explain that he used this surface applied sheet membrane over the substrate and that no water gets through it to even get to the substrate. He then would challenge them to rip it. Then he would ask "How do you want your shower waterproofed...by the "old way" or by this surface applied membrane. Invariably he said the customers would choose kerdi. If this sounds familiar to anyone reading it and want to elaborate or point Kirk to that thread it would be appreciated.

I think in any business the key is to differentiate yourself from the competitors. That has always been stressed at the places I have worked. I stress it myself. I say we are not a "me too" contractor. We offer better solutions than our competitors. I would stress that especially in these tough economic times we want to get the most value for our hard earned dollars. When someone signs up for a kerdi shower the only reason it will need to be ripped out will be when the owner gets tired of the tile and they want to make a decorative change. Few others can offer that.

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Unread 03-25-2010, 09:10 PM   #8
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I understand your point but wouldn't you much rather work over a mud float that is perfectly flat, plumb, and square if it costs the same Kerdi??? I was hoping this product would be something to sell my clients that was better than the other hardi-backer guys yet something that actully cost me less to install. If Kerdi costs more and takes two days to install, it is more expensive than me floating a shower.
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Unread 03-25-2010, 09:27 PM   #9
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Kirt, A lot of guys choose to use other methods because they can't efficiently mud walls. Mud vs Kerdi is apples and oranges. Everyone likes to mention the advantage of a surface membrane but they don't mention the advantages of getting plumb, flat and square walls with mud work. A properly built mudded shower is still king in my opinion.
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Unread 03-26-2010, 02:52 AM   #10
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Most of my showers (all I do is Kerdi) involve tearing out an old shower and rebuilding. I stress how quickly the shower will dry out, usually completely dry in three or four hours, as opposed to mud or CBU showers that take all day, and still hold the same water until flushed out by the next shower.

I also show them, when possible, how Kerdi will repel water and not let it through to the substrate and how that system differs from traditional mud or CBU showers. Most customers don't understand the difference, and the ones who are truly interested in the methods are glad to have the kerdi system. The ones who aren't interested are just glad to have a shower that dries quickly and won't grow mold.

There are ways to minimize the buildup issues. And being able to tile over Kerdi immediately after waterproofing is a big plus. Look at the overall cost for both showers and see how much difference you are looking at. For me, a few extra dollars is well worth it.
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Unread 03-26-2010, 04:58 AM   #11
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What about mud and Hydroban? (If it's not a steam shower)
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Unread 03-26-2010, 05:20 AM   #12
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Kirk,
How long does it take you to mud said shower? Is it a two coat float, or single? Are you typically installing the pan?
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Unread 03-26-2010, 06:36 AM   #13
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Dave,

Mud abd Hydro Ban (or any other liquid membrane) do play together. But it requires a lot (and I mean a LOT!) of the liquid to reach the correct thickness on the surface of the mud. The mud works like a sponge (doing what it's supposed to do). You could skim coat the mud lightly with some thinset and that helps, but that's an extra step and time waiting for the thinset to cure. And if you don't take your time with the skim coat you could have build spots that you would have to scape down so you don't negate your plumb/square.

The best thing would be to kerdi it, but then again the cost for a mud and kerdi shower are astronomical, and you'd have a hard time convincing the average HO to put that kind of money down.

Another good option, if you are a skilled mud man would be to build a proper mud shower (plumb, square, etc..) and the install the tile (push for the largest size possible) with a small grout joint (1/8" or less) and then grout with an Epoxy grout (Laticrete Spectalock) or a urethane grout (Bostik Tru Color). The small grout size will allow you to use less of the grout which can be pricey if the joints are large. Once the epoxy or urethane grout cures, well there won't be much moisture (if and at all) getting through.
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Unread 03-26-2010, 07:17 AM   #14
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Yeah, the last 8 or so steam showers I've done have been mud with Hydroban over it. Steamers are getting more popular, I haven't had a problem getting the extra money needed for the Hydroban....so far.
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Unread 03-26-2010, 07:24 AM   #15
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@ Davy , What are you doing in the pans of these steam showers ? Vinyl , Divot or Schluter Drain ?

@ KHELMAN When I said two days that was to shim and plane the studs, drywall and install the kerdi. Plus you still have a drain to deal with plus a pan to dry pack. All that is good in two days. You can't lath and scratch a shower then float it the next day in less than the two days.

In a no frills shower we can drywall and kerdi then get half the shower up in the first day. Then float the pan at the end of the first day before we leave.
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